During our four year stay in Beirut we came upon some impressive and tought provoking pieces of street art. In this gallery you will find some of the finest examples we discovered. Unfortunately some of the most beautiful works of street art have been destroyed or vandalized since we found them. Luckily our photographer better half was able to immortalize most of them. Some very nice pieces however were vandalized before she got to making the photo.
But then again, street art is temporary at best. And if graffiti is a crime, then perhaps we shouldn’t care when the vandalism is vandalized? Mhhh I disagree.
Many people - me included - despise graffiti. But most of us are more than happy to line our public spaces with, in my opinion something much more offensive: advertising! That’s the bigger story here: the use and abuse of public space.
I want to make a distinction between two kinds of graffiti: street art and vandalism.
Tagging, the practice of writing your name or handle in prominent or impressive places (on windows of shops, bridges, train- & subway-carriages, ... is indeed akin to a dog marking its territory: it’s a pissing contest, it's annoying and it costs the community hundreds of thousands of € to clean. It is also an act of ownership.
Genuine street art does not aim at ownership, but at capturing and sharing a concept. Street art adds to public discourse by putting something out into the world; it is the start of a conversation.
The photos in the mosaic above are from local Lebanese artists but also from very well known foreign artists who came to Beirut. If you go to my wife's website you will find three galleries on her homepage (scroll down) dedicated entirely to Lebanese street art and with more photos.
If you click on an individual photo in the galleries it will open in a pop-up and you will see the location of the graffiti and the name of the artist.